Cyllene (Elis)

Coordinates: 37°56′05″N 21°08′42″E / 37.9346907°N 21.1449975°E / 37.9346907; 21.1449975 Cyllene or Kyllene (Ancient Greek: Κυλλήνη) was a seaport town of ancient Elis, distant 120 stadia from the city of Elis.[1][2] Cyllene was an ancient place. It is mentioned by Homer as one of the towns of the Epeians;[3] and if we are to believe Dionysius Periegetes, it was the port from which the Pelasgians sailed to Italy.[4] Pausanias, moreover, mentions it as visited at an early period by the merchants of Aegina,[5] and as the port from which the exiled Messenians after the conclusion of the Second Messenian War, sailed away to found a colony in Italy or Sicily.[6]

Cyllene was burnt by the Corcyraeans in 435 BCE, because it had supplied ships to the Corinthians.[7] It is again mentioned in 429 BCE, as the naval station of the Peloponnesian fleet during the Peloponnesian War, when Phormion commanded an Athenian squadron in the Corinthian Gulf.[8] Its name occurs on other occasions, clearly showing that it was the principal port in this part of Peloponnesus.[9][10][11][12] Strabo describes Cyllene as an inconsiderable village, having an ivory statue of Asclepius by Colotes, a contemporary of Pheidias.[13] This statue is not mentioned by Pausanias, who speaks, however, of temples of Asclepius, Aphrodite, and the most venerated, one of Hermes having a Herma (with a carved phallus).[14]

It is located within the bounds of modern Kyllini, named after the ancient town.[15][16]


  1. ^ Pausanias. Description of Greece. 6.26.4.
  2. ^ Strabo. Geographica. viii. p.337. Page numbers refer to those of Isaac Casaubon's edition.
  3. ^ Homer. Iliad. 15.518.
  4. ^ Dionysius Periegetes, Description of the World 347.
  5. ^ Pausanias. Description of Greece. 8.5.8.
  6. ^ Pausanias. Description of Greece. 4.23.1. et seq.
  7. ^ Thucydides. History of the Peloponnesian War. 1.30.
  8. ^ Thucydides. History of the Peloponnesian War. 2.84.
  9. ^ Thucydides. History of the Peloponnesian War. 6.89.
  10. ^ Diodorus Siculus. Bibliotheca historica (Historical Library). 19.66, 87.
  11. ^ Polybius. The Histories. 5.3.
  12. ^ Livy. Ab Urbe Condita Libri (History of Rome). 27.32.
  13. ^ Strabo. Geographica. viii. p.337. Page numbers refer to those of Isaac Casaubon's edition.
  14. ^ Pausanias. Description of Greece. 6.26.5.
  15. ^ Lund University. Digital Atlas of the Roman Empire.
  16. ^ Richard Talbert, ed. (2000). Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World. Princeton University Press. p. 58, and directory notes accompanying.

  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSmith, William, ed. (1854–1857). "Cyllene". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography. London: John Murray.